By Olta Myslimi, YES Alumni Coordinator for Albania
On July 23rd, YES Alumni Elvana Qeli ’12, Drini Zusi ’14 and I visited the central mosque in downtown Tirana to turn in a large amount of clothing donations that had been collected from their families and friends in honor of Ramadan month. The clothes had been collected in the preceding month by alumni Vanesa Osmani (YES ’11), Elvana Qeli (YES ’12 ), Drini Zusi (YES ’14), Katerina Hatiaj (YES ’14), Stela Sota (YES ’14), Fulbright Student Elena Shomos and many family and friends of YES alumni. In Albania is a tradition that all the religious celebrations are celebrated by the citizens, whether they are catholic, orthodox or Muslim. Since Ramadan is the most significant celebration for the Muslim people, the YES alumni collected clothes to give to poor families. Based on statistics, a lot of Muslim families that are not in good economic conditions and since the mosque serves as one of the institutions that come in help to these families, we saw it as a good opportunity to give our contribution and give our help in the best way we can.
In the afternoon, the alumni turned 14 boxes and 4 bags filled with clothes and shoes, to the mosque along with a label where was written YES Alumni Association along with the logos of American Councils, YES program and US Department of State. The alumni were welcomed very generously by the people at the mosque, who were very thankful and they said that it was a great gesture from the YES students to think of families in need. One of them said: “It is very rare to see students involved in charities activities. I am very happy to see that there are still people, who think of those in needs and actually take actions to make a change and set an example to the community and people around them”.
And we were more than happy to see how many people were dedicated to help, donate and support us. The YES alumni really enjoyed this activity and they showed commitment and dedication to make this happen by speaking with their friends, relatives and collect as much as they could.